The Octave was undoubtedly the rising star of the budget DAC scene in 2011. A NOS DAC design from Metrum Acoustics (Acelec Engineering) that was fast, exceptionally transparent and thoroughly engaging. I didn’t review it formally as I felt Srajan’s coverage over at 6Moons said [pretty much] everything: it offered an abundance of “wow” factor that many folk are seeking out around the AU$1k mark. However, the Octave demanded a quality S/PDIF feed. This bumped the total cost of ownership closer to AU$1.5k once a USB-S/PDIF convertor and decent digital coax were factored into the equation.
Cees Rujtenberg is ready to pull on your coat once more, this time with his flagship Hex model:
“Our new Flagship DAC is a continuation of the theme which began with the Quad. With the Metrum Octave we doubled the dacs over and above the Quad using a total of 8 high speed dac chip-sets, 4 per channel. The result was much improved resolution with lower noise and distortion.”
“For the Hex we have doubled the boards and improved upon these attributes even further. The Hex uses 16 of these industrial high speed dac-chipsets, 8 per channel and operates in full differential mode. In addition it has 1 x BNC coaxial, 1x RCA coaxial, 2 x optical, an optional USB and AES/EBU input.”
“Due to fully galvanic separation of these DAC boards, three toroidal transformers are used to feed the DAC boards, control logic and USB. Consequently, frequency response, distortion and channel separation are all improved.”
Input sample rates possibilities extend further than the Octave too. ALL inputs will handle up to 24/192, except toslink which is held to a maximum of 24/96. Outputs? There are both balanced and single ended.
The price for the base unit is €2185.00 (+ VAT for purchasers inside the EU). Odd then that the chaps at istereos.co.uk have it priced at 3000GBP = €3800!
The optional USB input (€168) promises not to be sub-par: it’s an OEM module from M2Tech.
Due to a last minute delay with casework, the Hex will likely begin shipping in September 2012. Before you all ask – yes, a review unit will be coming my way.
Further Information: Metrum Acoustics
EDIT 18th December 2012: I’ve reviewed the Metrum Hex alongside Srajan Ebaen and Frederic Beudot. Go here for stepping-stone words and photos.